Sweden is keen on partnering with Indian companies to build ‘smart cities’ through the public private partnership (PPP) mode in states like Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra, a senior Swedish official said.
Early signing of a pending memorandum of understanding (MOU) on urban development framework between the two countries is expected to facilitate for collaboration, she said.
“Rather than adopting cities in India, we will work on actual PPP model, where in, we will bring in Swedish expertise and world class state-of-the-art knowledge and investment, said Anna Liberg, Trade Commissioner to India, Business Sweden India and South Asia. Sweden, which has expertise in urban planning, power, sustainable transport and waste management, sees business opportunities with Indian partners in states like Karnataka, Maharasthra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, she told PTI.
“There are 150 Swedish companies in India and the number is growing. A considerable part of them are in the field of urban development under the umbrella of smart cities. We are very strong in that,” Liberg said.
The partnership with Indian companies on smart solutions would be on a commercial basis, she said, adding expertise of Swedish companies on smart solutions would be showcased at the forthcoming Smart City Expo on May 20-22 in New Delhi.
Liberg expressed hope that the pending MoU on sustainable urban development framework would be signed during Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Stockholm on June 1-2.
The MoU would entail urban planning, energy, waste management — all smart solutions required in an urban context, Micael Hagman, Counsellor – Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
Stating that cities cannot be turned smart over night, Hagman said that cities in Sweden way back in 1900s were heavily polluted. It took 50-60 years to clean them through use of laws and new technologies, among others.
“We started cleaning cities in Sweden when the country was not rich. Now, everyone looks at it and ask how did we do it. It did not occur over night. It has taken long tiresome process,” he said.
Hagman further said, “The initiative is important. The leadership of a politician is important. It takes 7 or 15 years, it does not matter. It is the direction that matters.”
Indian government plans to develop 100 smart cities by 2022. In the Budget, Finance Ministry had allocated Rs 7,060 crore for developing these smart cities.